Skip Navigation

The Herbert Collection

A huge collection of delicate photographs is now being preserved at Dorset History Centre.

Graham V Herbert spent his whole working life running the family photographic business in Weymouth, building up a considerable reputation as a commercial photographer. At one time Mr Herbert was the president of the Wessex Centre of the Institute of British Photographers and was the first photographer to be used by the Dorset Echo before the newspaper set up its own photographic department.

Following his death in 1983 his widow presented Weymouth Library with over 7,000 packets of photographic negatives chronicling the last thirty years of Mr Herbert's career in Weymouth and South Dorset.

Unfortunately the negatives are suffering from 'vinegar syndrome'; this happens is when the negatives begin to decay and give off an acidic vapour that smells much like vinegar. There is no treatment as yet that can reverse or stop this condition, but if the negatives can be stored in dry and cool conditions, ideally frozen, the rate of decay can be much reduced. To try and slow the pace of the decay the negatives are now being stored in the specially climate controlled strong rooms at the Dorset History Centre.

Crowdfunding campaign

We have been working to digitise and index the negatives in order to preserve the images and enhance access to them. In July 2017 Dorset History Centre was selected as the winner of a £5,000 grant awarded by digitisation company  TownsWeb Archiving (opens in a new window). In late 2017, in partnership with Dorset Archives Trust, we raised £8,000 via a crowdfunding campaign to digitise many more of Herbert's negatives. We are grateful to all those who have helped to preserve much more of the fantastic Herbert collection for future generations to enjoy. 

Digitisation projects

Previous projects were supported by a grant of £3,100 from the Dorset County Council Fund which is administered by the Dorset Community Foundation (opens in a new window). The application was submitted by Dorset Archives Trust, an independent charitable body which supports the work of Dorset History Centre.  This funding paid for the purchase of a scanner able to copy the decaying negatives to an archive standard.

The Herbert collection covers many aspects of local life, including events, industry, business and the landscape. We will be further exploring some of these areas as the project progresses.

Please contact us for details on how to access the collection.

  • HBT playtime What does the Herbert Collection tell us?

    An intern worked on a project to digitise photographic negatives from the Herbert Collection, supported by Creative Dorset. In this article he explains what we can learn from the images contained within this fascinating archive.

  • Delightfully retro Dorset photography,: Miss World's whistle-stop Weymouth tour!

    Were you aware that in 1965, winner of the Miss World international beauty pageant and one-time Bond girl, came from none other than our own fair county? Watch, as blonde bombshell Lesley Langley wanders about Weymouth in these latest of photos from the Herbert Photographic Collection.

  • Transporting Portland stone Delightfully retro Dorset photography: A special shipment of Portland stone

    Our Archives Project Technician, Amber, continues her journey into the Herbert Photographic Collection. She discovers the surprisingly labour-intensive processes behind transporting Portland limestone off the island in the 1960s.

  • HBT Santa Arrives in Weymouth Delightfully retro festive photography

    Amber, our newly appointed Archives Project Technician, recommences work digitising the fascinating Herbert Collection. She shares some specially selected snapshots of Dorset from times gone by.

  • Central Stores, Weymouth Through the keyhole: a historic view of Weymouth interiors

    Our intern has been working on digitising photographic negatives from the Herbert Collection, supported by Creative Dorset. She shares some highlights which allow us to peek through the keyhole into some of Weymouth's popular hotels and businesses.

  • Weymouth Pavilion early 20th century A photographic history of Weymouth Pavilion

    The Herbert collection contains numerous photographs of Weymouth pavilion during the 1950s and 1960s, capturing the moments of its demise as 'the Ritz' in 1954 and its re-emergence in 1960.

  • Cutting Portland stone The Portland stone industry

    Dorset History Centre holds many historical and photographic records relating to the stonemason industry on Portland. It is an industry that has international reach and significance. With evidence of quarrying dating back to Roman times, stonemasonry has been a source of labour and wealth in the area for many centuries.

Powered by GOSS iCM